Olympiacos FC are delighted to have been given the opportunity to stage the UEFA-backed United Nations Development Programme Match Against Poverty in Greece on Tuesday.
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The annual Match Against Poverty, organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will take place at Olympiacos FC's Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, Greece, on Tuesday. UEFA is giving its backing to the match in which UNDP goodwill ambassadors Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane head a team from across Europe against an all-star side from Olympiacos in a game highlighting the global effort to reduce poverty.
Olympiacos are naturally proud and delighted to have been chosen to host this auspicious occasion. The club's owner and vice-president Evangelos Marinakis is a prominent figure in the international shipping community. The 43-year-old founder of two shipping companies has watched the team establish themselves among the domestic frontrunners this season, and is looking forward with great enthusiasm to the Match Against Poverty.
"No one should refuse the opportunity to help people who are suffering," Mr Marinakis told UEFA.com. "The proceeds from the game will be given to the people of Haiti who have suffered the consequences of a terrible earthquake earlier this year, and the victims of the floods in Pakistan, as well as to the Greek children with special needs who are being accommodated and educated at the non-profit making ARGO institution, and to the meals for the poor organised by the Church of Piraeus.
"For us, Olympiacos is not just a football team but a modern, socially responsible organisation that looks to give the most it can to society, and especially to the youth of our country."
Mr Marinakis is confident that fans will respond to the Match Against Poverty. "Greeks have been through many difficult times in the past and they have survived," he said. "We have learned to fight and to help those in need. People here respect their values, and hospitality is one of the highest. Even during hard times, we have always acknowledged the importance of giving whatever we can spare. We believe that not only Olympiacos fans, but also supporters of other clubs will respond to our call.
"The fans have already proved this, because pre-game ticket sales are already high. If we had a bigger stadium, I am positive that we would have been able to pack it for this particular match. Besides, we are being given the opportunity to show the world that Greece can be a success story once again, as it proved to the international community in hosting the 2004 Olympics."
The presence of Zidane, Ronaldo and an array of other stars at the Match Against Poverty excites Mr Marinakis. "I have loved football passionately since I was a little boy," he explained. "My father Miltiadis was a member and shareholder at Olympiacos for many years. I have visited some of the greatest stadiums in Europe and have watched these tremendous players from close up.
"I want to thank them for honouring us with their presence and for selecting Olympiacos to host this year's match. If they need us to do anything in the future, we'll be there for them."
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Ticket details can be found on the Olympiacos site.